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Timber Creek Docks ease your frustration and back pain

Boy do I hate wrestling with docks. Unveil the waders, fix the holes in the waders, buy a new pair of waders, then walk too far into the water and fill the waders--cold water in the spring, cold water in the fall. Fortunately Ben and Kate Tande, ...

Timber Creek Dock
The 28-foot barge utilized by Timber Creek Dock and Lift Service is equipped with hydraulic forks that extend an additional 16-feet to safely place boat lifts in their resting position. Timber Creek employee Tommy Strangel is shown driving the custom built craft.

Boy do I hate wrestling with docks. Unveil the waders, fix the holes in the waders, buy a new pair of waders, then walk too far into the water and fill the waders--cold water in the spring, cold water in the fall. Fortunately Ben and Kate Tande, owners of Timber Creek Dock and Lift Service can eliminate the frustration.

The Tandes created Timber Creek Dock and Lift Service in 2004. Ben, who has a degree in Entrepreneurship from the University of St. Thomas, originally started a property maintenance and management company for lake homes, which often found him working with the homeowner's docks and lifts.

Then Ben fatefully ran into a local icon in the world of docks, Dacle Schmid, who has set-up and removed docks for lakeshore owners for years. As the two talked, Tande discovered that Schmid was interested in scaling back on his workload. Soon thereafter, the Tandes purchased Schmid's accounts, which totaled over 150 properties and has since expanded even further. Timber Creek Dock and Lift Service now sells docks, lifts and accessories.

While talking with him over the phone this past week, Ben Tande sounds content. "We pulled out the last dock yesterday," he states. Though ice formation in the fall is a concern when attempting to pull docks from our lakes, snow is even worse. "If there's snow on the shoreline, then the docks and lifts tend to slide when they're placed in their storage position," he adds. Since some lake homes have sloping elevation to the water, snow requires Timber Creek Dock and Lift Service to tie the home owner's equipment to trees so it won't slide and become damaged.

Although fall is a race against the clock, so is spring. "A late ice-out date in the spring creates issues," says Tande. "The two dates we come up against are fishing opener and Memorial Day. If the ice goes out ten days later than usual and we're completing ten jobs a day, then we're already 100 jobs behind," he says. Since spring of 2008 was late, the Tandes and their crew endured 75- hour work weeks to catch up.

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If you've ever put a dock or lift in the lake or taken it out, you're familiar with the effort required to complete the job. However, Timber Creek Dock and Lift Service incorporates a unique piece of equipment to aid in the process; a forklift on floats.

This 28-foot barge boat has two hydraulic forks that extend an additional 16-feet. Two hydraulic stabilizers in the back, called "spuds" support the custom-built machine while it gently guides the boatlift two and from the shoreline. A 150-horsepower Mercury Optimax outboard propels the craft from job to job.

"The barge creates a safer process for doing the work, which contributes to cost savings and employee retention," says Tande. "We're more likely to keep a worker on staff if they don't have to exert as much effort." Tande compares this to an excavator with appropriate equipment, versus one who only uses shovels.

"It's hard work, sometimes dangerous, but it's amazing too," says Tande. "I get to work outside during the most beautiful times of the year and exert myself physically all while conversing with employees and homeowners."

For more information on Timber Creek Dock and Lift Service, visit their Web site, www.timbercreekmn . com, or call 237-0182.

Editor's Note: The Web site of Angling Unlimited, featured in last week's column, is: www.angling unlimited.com.

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